Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Everyone is Dying

Everyone is dying. This is a thought that has been on my mind lately.

In the past year, many of my parents' generation have passed on. This includes parents, aunts and uncles of close friends, as well as in-laws. And of course Brad's mother, may she rest in peace. And then there are more that are either terminally ill or close to it. This makes sense, of course, since I am 40 years old, and my parents' generation is in its twilight years.

I just came back from an extended period of travel that included vacation, family visits, and business. When I returned home, I received news that a friend had died in a car accident while I was away. He was my age. He was extremely intelligent and highly educated, and he lived life vividly and ferociously, without compromise. He was a single man, a traveler and an adventurer. He requested that a funeral not be held in his honor but, rather, that his ashes be mixed with those of his departed pet dog, and scattered.

In the news today, there is plenty of discussion of the anticipated cataclysmic effects of climate change and nuclear explosions. But these discussions are really academic. True, we may be able to avert global annihilation over the next generation if we do everything just right. But we will still all die. Everyone reading this will likely be dead within the next 100 years. And the entire human race, and the entire planet, and the entire solar system will also come to an end at some point.

I find it interesting that when a loved one dies, we are sad, but when we contemplate the destruction of the planet or the species, we are fearful. The death of a loved one is a much better indication of the fate we can anticipate for ourselves than the promised consequences of climate change or nuclear war.

The irony is that war and the wanton distruction of the environment result in the very thing that caused them. That is to say that war, greed, and other destructive behaviors are ultimately caused by fear of death and, ironically, they result in fear, death, and more fear of death.

Who said, "You have nothing to fear but fear itself"? I think he may have been on to something.


At January 19, 2007, Blogger oxeye said...

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." - Shakespeare


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